HR professionals know that issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity can be among the most challenging. This week, a congressional committee took a step toward trying to address these issues in the workplace.
On September 5, the House Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee held a hearing to examine legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The "Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007" (H.R. 2015), would require employers to take certain steps to accommodate employees' sexual orientation or gender identity.
This proposal would, for the first time, establish "gender identity" as a cause of action for employment discrimination. In the hearing, members of the Committee discussed whether a uniform, Federal law prohibiting employment practices that takes into account sexual orientation and gender identity would be appropriate and administratively feasible for all types of employers nationwide.
In practice and policy, SHRM supports fair employment practices without regard to a person's sexual orientation or sexual preference. SHRM strongly believes that employment decisions should be made on the basis of an individual's occupational qualifications and experience, and not on factors that have no bearing on job performance.
SHRM's Government Affairs staff is monitoring developments with H.R. 2015, and will keep you up-to-date on this legislation.